Someone on the Xbox One team may get in a lot of trouble with his employer but he’s possibly done more for the future success of the console than the collected marketing teams at Xbox.
According to NeoWin.net an Xbox One engineer has spilled the beans on the real strategy behind being always-on: Xbox wants to be the new Steam.
That should get a lot of gamers excited. Steam is held up as the ultimate in gaming delivery services by gamers. Especially because of the regular sales promotions where highly-rated games are regularly released for a few dollars (Just Cause 2 for $3.00, anyone?). However, that kind of strategy comes at a cost to the short-term relationships Xbox has with retail.
As the Xbox One engineer points out, the likes of GameStop and Wal-mart have a huge influence on the games industry as key distributors of disc-based games.
Breaking that relationship will undoubtedly incur the wrath of retailers who will throttle Xbox’s ability to get games in the hands of gamers. In turn publishers will be reticent to partner with Xbox due to a shortfall in revenue opportunity potentially driving more exclusives to PlayStation.
Xbox finds themselves at the precipitous tipping point of being either a revolutionary games platform or finding themselves without the content to compete with PlayStation.
Now it’ll be a measure of the Xbox’s executive team’s diplomatic skills how well they can maintain favourable relationships with retailers as the console wars kick-off again.
Successfully keeping their retail partners happy might come at a cost through enabling retailers to get a higher cut of the profits by trading lower licensing fees with publishers and/or building favourable long-term hardware sales relationships with retailers.
However, whatever the strategy it’ll be necessary for them to still push ahead with a very ambitious and ultimately attractive consumer proposition of Steam on console.